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Bird shows in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 8 Oct 2021.

  1. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    How do you like bird flight shows in zoos?

    I liked one at Villars-les-Dombes, France. First, there was no presenter. The birds came off stage, flew or fed on the open air and flew away. This blew up the whole concept of 'captive animals'. Then perhaps 40 species from many diverse groups were shown - not only birds of prey, but also francolins, seriemas, kookaburas and lots of others. The best was a whole group of maybe 10 great white pelicans which took off half a mile or so away, slowly gained height and circled over the large lake which crosses the park, and then landed on the stage and went to the doors where keepers waited.

    What are the unusual or spectacular bird shows you know?
     
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  2. Jambi

    Jambi Well-Known Member

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    They're a great thing to have in my opinion, especially if flight is involved, it's much better for a bird's wellbeing than spending every day in a little closed-roof aviary where they can't move around very much. On another note, many parrots have the same intelligence level as a human toddler and need a lot of mental stimulation, so shows where they can solve puzzles and interact with a keeper are great for them too.
     
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  3. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    The most memorable birdshows I have yet attended in zoos must have been the ones in Walsrode and Parque Las Águilas (Tenerife). Plenty of different birds, entertaining and at times quite funny.
     
  4. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Personally I am not a huge fan. That largely stems from an incident in the early 2000's at Monde Sauvage, when a vulture miscalculated and very nearly landed on me, actually partially striking me with a wing and a leg, instead of on the wooden wall surrounding the area, in front of which I saw sitting. I was kind of lucky in that the bird didn't attack me and didn't hit me with its talons (which I think if it had been an eagle would have happened). After this accident I refused to attend such shows for years and was rather critical of them, but I have since relented, although I still don't generally readily attend such shows, however much of a bird person I may be.

    That said, I do see the purpose of such shows, at least if they are done with a clear educational purpose in mind and clear educational aspects in practice, and not just for entertainment. I also recognize the animal welfare benefits of the training and the flight that come with these shows.

    The show at Monde Sauvage was a bit special in the sense that they used a falconer on horseback during a part of the show.

    The two best shows I have seen in terms of diversity of species used and the value in terms of entertainment and education were those at Walsrode (Germany) and Vogelpark Avifauna (The Netherlands). Seen large birds normally only seen on the ground in zoos, like crowned cranes, in flight in the show at Avifauna was something I definitely enjoyed.

    With regards to spectacular show scenery, it would be hard to beat the arena for the show at Pairi Daiza (which hasn't been held since Covid and still has not resumed), with the show area being at the foot of the old abbey tower and being lines with an ancient abbey wall. I don't however remember when of if I ever attended the show at Pairi Daiza - and if I did it was before I really began to take photos, so before 2006.
     
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  5. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    ZooParc de Beauval
     
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  6. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I generally like bird shows. If we're talking about animal shows, i think birds are one of the more "favourable" ones. Bird shows mostly are just showcasing birds, while the birds just fly around a certain route. Of course there will be the "showcasing parrot intelligence and talk" part, which isn't too far away from normal behaviour too.

    I've heard that Beauval's bird show is amazing. I've watch videos of it and seeing the vast land behind with tons of birds flying around is a joy. For shows that I actually see, Jurong bird park have 2 bird shows and i think both are good shows. It's educational and highlight the importance of the environment, yet maintain a lot of interesting and funny parts. For children to learn more about animals and being interactive too, bird show are a nice way.

    However there are bad birds show out there too. There are zoos who train parrots to do all sort of things, and they aren't educational at all. Instead of showcasing their intelligence, they force the parrots to ride bicycle or pick up money. So those are bad ones.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    When I Volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo one of my shifts is the Angela Collier’s World of Birds show.
    I interact with the visitors with animal facts, asking them questions, and sometimes showing my drawing animal sketches I sometimes bring and a bag with bird feathers for them to see.
    When the gates open they would play music even classics like Rockin’ Robin and I wanna be like you. The original show before renovation had Circle of Life when they open the gates and the surfin’ bird and oh yeah by hello(original opening music which I heard from the first time when I was little) during the main show.
    I address the visitors to their seats and the rules as well.
    The main show currently has free-flight and showing birds displaying natural behaviors, hopefully another element of the original bird show guest participation will come back.
    There are many birds that do natural behavior like the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill hunting a plastic snake and the Harris Hawk catching a lure from the air.
    It’s very interesting as the show has been doing new tricks for the birds and adding new species to the show and it became more popular when they introduce Hope, the first California Condor to be in a free-flight bird show.
    At the end, I say goodbye to the visitors and there is a donation box in which a parrot mostly a macaw would take dollar for donations for conservation with it’s hill and place it inside.
    This is what I like about bird shows the excitement and seeing the birds in action.
     
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  8. Jambi

    Jambi Well-Known Member

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    Now there's a mental image. Why exactly was the falconer on horseback? I would've loved to see that.
     
  9. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It's been over 15 years since I saw that show, so I don't remember exactly why they did that. But I believe it might have been part of some sort of historic story that was told during the show.
     
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  10. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    This is not a rare way of falconer shows because historically, this is the way how real hunt with falcons or eagles usually happened in Europe/Asia/North Africa.

    It is done by some falconer show groups who are active at medieval fairs here in Czechia too. Also, +10 years ago, I met a Russian girl at Opočno during a falconer meeting, she was a guest without own bird (because movement of live birds between Russia and EU is close to impossible). The organisers asked me to give her a lift between different hunting grounds and we talked. It turned out she was a zoo employee from Russia (I think Leningrad zoo?) who does falconer show on horseback as a part of her duties.
     
  11. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It ain't as great as Beuval but I loved the flight show that used to happen over the lily pads and the pelican feeding.

    Now I can't judge the educational quality of the flight show since I don't know Japanese too well. But there was a nice diversity of birds; Macaws, moluccan cocketoo, aplomado falcon, Siberian eagle owl, brown wood owl, Harris's hawk, Bateleur eagle, and Egyptian vulture. No two show is same in with the day. Seeing the birds fly over the water lilies and by the wines was a pleasure for me. The only problem is that the show was indoors. However the stage is now moved to outdoors (the water lily area got converted to the current shoebill enclosure.)

    Objectively speaking, the pelican feeding show isn't anything special. It's just a small flock of great white pelicans charging to the keeper in a body of water that isn't too big as the birds hower over the water. I know that for somepeople, this isn't as great as seeing them fly in the air or see them dive to the water (idk if great white pelicans dive to the water like brown pelicans do). However, as someone who has only seen pinioned pelicans in my life (or those that simply just don't fly in case Bronx zoo's pelican in the sea bird aviary is full winged), seeing the pelicans hover over the water, fold themselves, and zoom past by in the speed of light was very marvelous. Zoos should try to show that pelicans are as impressive fliyes as much as they are beautiful floaters and funky walkers.
     
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  12. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    Indeed, hunting with falcons was done on horseback (hunting with hawks often on foot), because the falcon could chase prey for several kilometers.

    I saw also a very entertaining bird show at Aigles de Leman, France, which involved a falconer on a horseback. However, the arena was quite small and there was little riding involved. I was really impressed how calm the horse was, especially when a huge Andean Condor flapped wings perching on its back!
     
  13. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I just realized that I didn’t say that this was rom Kobe Animal Kingdom.
     
  14. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Disney's Animal Kingdom has a great bird show, which amongst other species includes a harpy eagle. There are also a few groups in the US that do traveling bird shows to zoos- I know World Bird Sanctuary will lend out birds to places for shows, last summer Buffalo Zoo had some of their birds for instance (including a Wedge-Tailed Eagle and a Bateleur Eagle), and Natural Encounters, Inc. is an AZA-certified facility that will help zoos with temporary bird shows. Roger Williams Park Zoo has a bird show this spring and summer from Natural Encounters, Inc., and I'm looking forward to seeing it once I'm back in New England.
     
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  15. Natural Historian

    Natural Historian Active Member

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    Personally I really like bird shows. Every time I visit a zoo I check out the bird show if they have them. I especially like the birds in free flight, its a view of birds that you usually don't get when they are inside an exhibit. A couple of very good bird trainers and presenters that I have seen are Steve Martin of Natural Encounters and Mark Booth of Take Flight, also Walt Crawford who unfortunately passed away a few years ago.
     
  16. Zhao yun

    Zhao yun Well-Known Member

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    Bird Paradise has two bird shows, Predators on wings and wings of the world. Both extensively use the big screen, which is used for education in the predators on wings. However, the effect in wings of the world is a little tacky and there is a dumb froot loops joke. All in all, predators on wings is better than wings of the world, so watch that one if you only have time for one show
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2023
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